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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
The US Interior Department says it is making ‘significant progress’ towards President Joe Biden’s goals of permitting 25 GW of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands by 2025 and a 100% clean US electricity grid by 2035.
US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently announced that the Interior Department is advancing 15 onshore renewable energy projects across the west of the country, including achieving full operational status for two solar and battery storage projects in California; permitting milestones for transmission lines proposed across Arizona, Nevada and Utah; taking the next steps for geothermal energy development in Nevada; and progressing environmental reviews for seven solar projects (totalling 5.3 GW) proposed in Nevada, and a solar and battery storage project in Arizona.
The projects form part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ‘Investing in America’ agenda.
According to the Interior Department, since 2021 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved 46 clean energy projects (16 solar, 10 geothermal, and 20 generation-tie transmission lines) on approximately 35,000 acres of BLM-managed lands. These projects are expected to produce up to 11,236 MW of electricity – enough to power over 3.5 million homes.
The BLM is currently processing 66 utility-scale onshore clean energy projects proposed on public lands in the western US. This includes solar, wind and geothermal projects, as well as ‘generation-tie lines that are vital to clean energy projects proposed on non-federal land’. These projects are reported to have the potential to add more than 33 GW of renewable energy to the western US electricity grid. The BLM is also undertaking the preliminary review of over 192 applications for solar and wind development, as well as 95 applications for solar and wind energy site area testing.
Among the renewables projects to have been commissioned is the 500 MW Oberon solar photovoltaic (PV) project near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, California, which includes up to 250 MW of battery storage; and a 364 MW project in Arlington, also in Riverside County, that includes 242 MW of battery energy storage.
Meanwhile, construction has been approved for a 500 kV generation-tie transmission line crossing public lands about 60 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona, that will support delivery of utility-scale solar energy from the 150 MW Harquahala Sun solar generation facility into the grid.
The BLM is also holding a competitive geothermal lease sale offering 45 parcels totalling about 135,067 acres.
US’ largest EV materials production facility
In other US news, Solvay has confirmed plans to create what is claimed will be the largest North American production facility for electric vehicle (EV) materials. Reported to be ‘pivotal for the US EV battery supply chain’, the joint venture with Orbia is receiving a grant from the US Department of Energy.
With more than half of US car sales projected to be electric by 2023, according to analysis by BloombergNEF, Solvay’s new facility in Augusta, Georgia, will produce battery-grade PVDF – a thermoplastic fluoropolymer which is used as a lithium-ion binder and separator coating in EV batteries. The new operation will provide material for more than 5 million EV batteries per year at full capacity.